The simple rays of sunshine blew the creeping forgetfulness to the forefront of Mina’s mind. She was hard on herself for it.
She would justify it by saying to the people she loved that she wouldn’t forget the story you told her a week ago, but she would forget your birthday.
It’s normal to be forgetful, probably… and life is normal and the world will continue its cycle even though at many moments Mina felt like it should just stop.
Is life normal? it’s weird and painful at the best of times.
Mina was in a field that was greener than it had been for the past year, they had just received rain. You could see the refreshing beauty in the life of the world, so upbeat and ready to continue as if it never stopped, because, of course, it hadn’t. It had only rained and that was all. It wasn’t a fresh new beginning, just a cycle that would either continue, slow down, speed up or end.
She was waiting in this green, fresh field; she didn’t really have a reason for waiting. Perhaps she felt like she needed to be there. She was waiting though, because she expected something to happen. She hoped for a new friend or a catastrophe of sorts but knew if someone walked past she would not have the courage to say hello. So, she pinned this impromptu meeting with an unlikely party on them engaging the conversation, which perhaps added to the unlikelihood of this exchange of greetings.
She hasn’t seen anyone in this field, so the chance of her meeting someone now is high in her mind. Someone is bound to walk by, sooner or later.
Though statistically, she would have more chance at a bar or in the city. She knew this, but she wanted to meet someone in the field because a bar doesn’t have this openness and freedom that the wind acquiesces every time it brushes past her.
It was early morning and she had all day, so life could finally give her something like she has been waiting for, for so long. She doesn’t know if she deserves a gift from life but it doesn’t stop her from wanting for one. If life can happen like this – what is all around her – from nowhere then let it.
Mina was frustrated at life, at the cycles, at the rain and at the subtle beauty and simpleness of large green fields. She felt like she was cheated. Why does life deserve to be so beautiful and free? Why are we so accepting in its unfairness and judicial-like decisions of who lives and dies? who is successful and who becomes a pauper? Who is weak and who is strong?
She begins to think humans are in a desperate battle with life, or that humans are like jaded lovers. Who have accepted all that life can give them without sacrificing its own integrity, but still felt like they deserved more. Humans want more, they want to decide who is weak and who is strong, who lives and who dies, they want to take all of life’s decisions with a grain of salt. But they can’t take all of what life has to offer, other than life itself.
Mina realises all of this, again, while she is waiting for life to hand her excitement on a silver platter in a boring green field just after the sun has risen and the rains have stopped. Her excitement wasn’t in the anticipation of waiting, though that would have been swell. Her excitement (if you could call it that) was found in the past when life had already given her everything. She had been Queen of her own world, but even then, her loveless eyes wandered each room searching for something that life couldn’t give her. She did get married, but continuous love for someone else wasn’t in her blood. She would never be so boring. In those times, she wanted to love someone who had something interesting, who was always interesting and she knew, really, that deep down in her heart that wasn’t possible
She knew it was futile to wait, but that’s what she had been doing for as long as she could remember. Mina laughed at this thought because her memory couldn’t be that bad if she was remembering the shades of this field through all the seasons and suddenly she was sad that she had been so hard on herself for a ‘not as good as the best’ memory.
She brushes off her morning ritual with an easy walk into town to visit her friend Lachlan who would have some coffee ready. He would drink plunger coffee from the moment he woke all the way into the afternoon and he never minded sharing with Mina. Mina supposed he liked the company, she did, but she liked the coffee more.
Lachlan and Mina were in a mediocre conversation when Lachlan’s dog jumped on Mina’s lap, Mina didn’t mind, this dog was special because it loved her unconditionally. She didn’t need to give it anything, because Lachlan fed and watered it, if she didn’t want to give the dog attention, the dog wouldn’t cry or sook in the corner or in plain sight and make her feel guilty for not giving love that she didn’t have inside her at the time.
Mina was tired as it was nearly midday and she had been up since four in the morning but the coffee kept her alert. She had a doctor’s appointment soon. It was a follow up on a nasty lump she had found on her right breast. She thought the worst. Life is an unfair and impartial judge she surmised, she is forty-eight, perhaps that is long enough on this earth anyway. She touched it and it hurt.
She waited in the doctor’s office for much longer than she intended. Why is it that doctors can change the rules of time more than any other profession? Mina supposed that the more people need a profession, the more susceptible the profession is to become arrogant and untimely. This was a dull view and Mina knew it. She knew it because sometimes doctor’s appointments take much longer than anticipated and if she lacked love, she still had compassion above all things.
The doctor assured her she was going to be alright, it was just a cyst. Mina was mostly indifferent to the news and would only think of her boring and beautiful green field. She was, of course, filled with relief but she couldn’t get it out of her head that she had seen her doctor hide a packet of cigarettes in his drawer when she entered. What sort of doctor smokes? Is it really that hard to give up? She thought that if you were a doctor you would have respect for all life, even your own. She felt like she still had a lot to learn and was suddenly grateful for the diagnosis.
The doctor watched this train of thought and was not to sure what to think about this reaction, usually the patient is overjoyed immediately. The doctor asked Mina if she was alright, Mina replied courteously with a distinct yes than asked the doctor why he smoked.
The doctor was shocked and lied accordingly and said he didn’t.
Mina was curious at this lie and replied sharply that she saw his cigarettes,
The doctor fumbled for an excuse and said they were given to him by a patient,
Mina immediately asked why a patient would give their doctor a packet of cigarettes.
The doctor crumbled under the pressure and said that the addiction had taken hold in the seventies and he couldn’t shake it.
Mina asked how many the doctor had in a day.
The doctor said only one.
Mina was sympathetic and asked the doctor if the quota had been reached for today.
The doctor said it hadn’t
Mina asked if the doctor would give her one for a quick smoke outside.
The doctor asked if he could join her.
Mina said yes.
Mina walked outside, down the ramp and to the back of the doctors’ office, the doctor soon found her and told her that they should go someplace else.
Mina said she wouldn’t and the doctor lit Mina’s cigarette and got in his car and drove away.
Mina smoked the cigarette slowly, she didn’t cough, though at one moment the smoke got into her eyes which made her start to think of her teenage years and all her bold moments involving cigarettes at school. She was unstoppable then.
She would often look back on those moments with regret, even when she justified it by saying she was just a child. She was often embarrassed and chose to shut those memories out of her mind by saying out loud “I am not an arrogant child anymore”
She knew she was though, it was in her nature to make decisions without studying the outliers that often surround the intended outcome.
She would unintentionally hurt others for as long as she lived. But she justified it slightly as she had always been unintentionally hurt as well, perhaps she was only a product of her environment.
Many would take advantage of her and she would not see it as a slight but only as nature.
Nature took advantage of you, but then, she thought about life and how it never took advantage of anyone, it only gave answers that were realistic regarding the sum put forth, and if nature is life embodied than nature does not have to be an unintentional gamble of hurt and gain.
But who says nature is life really? Nature can embody life exactly how one can put on a suit and heels and become an instant professional.
Her original thoughts were always arrogant in her own objective view, because who was she to begin to understand life anyway.
She put out her cigarette with her shoes and left it in the gutter where her memories of arrogant youth belong.
As she walked away someone yelled at her to bin her butt.
She kept walking but heard the person approaching shouting and trying to get her attention.
The person finally reached her and grabbed her shoulder, “hey” the person said holding out her squashed butt “I don’t care if you treat your body like shit, just don’t treat our environment like it” Mina took the used cigarette, turned and kept walking, found an overflowing bin and stuffed her shame underneath a plastic bag full of discarded papers and fast food containers.
“people need to take more care” Mina heard the person say as she walked away from him.
Mina knew she needed to take more care, that’s what people had been saying to her for her entire life, she just didn’t know how and she didn’t have that instinct to want to care and love and make life enjoyable.
She started to cry because she felt like she had failed the basic purpose of life and nothing could make it better.
After her morning ritual in the field, she didn’t usually return till the next day, but she needed to be there. She needed to feel the prospect of life’s gift, perhaps the anticipation was her excitement.
She walked back to the field, sad that her life was so meaningless and that it was her fault for not being able to make it meaningful and that it was life’s fault for not giving her anything meaningful or exciting or wonderful to hold onto and let go whenever she wanted.
It started to rain, Mina didn’t care, she felt sick and lifeless as she made her way to the field and when she got there she sat down wishing the world would let her join its endless cadaver and she offered herself up to it as she was, to either end her monotonous sadness or let her feel and engage in the experiment of human consciousness.
She knew then that life wouldn’t give her anything, that the world wouldn’t give her anything and that nature wouldn’t give her anything. No matter how much she thought she was owed. She resigned to numbness and left her field to return to her home that was leaking slightly from her chimney into her fireplace.
She couldn’t start a fire even if she wanted to, she got fed up and called a handyman. He gave her the number to a local chimney repair company, she called them. They said they wouldn’t be able to work in the rain and would come over as soon as the rain stopped.
The rain continued for two days and Mina resigned herself to bed, waiting for this visit.
When the rain stopped, Mina knew she would be expecting company and gave Lachlan a call. She asked him to come over and bring his dog. Lachlan was delighted to, as he had missed her the last couple of days.
He asked her if she wanted him to bring a movie or a board game. Mina told him he could do whatever he liked, so he brought over scrabble and an obscure art house film called ‘a girl on a motorcycle’.
They played Scrabble, Lachlan thought he was going to win as he was a writer, but Mina had a way with words and strategy, she won with her placement of high scoring letters on the double word score tiles.
The movie inspired Mina to get a motorcycle, Lachlan was abhorred at the idea and told her she mustn’t.
Mina brushed this aside and began looking for motorcycles for sale on her computer.
The repair people soon came and fixed the chimney.
Lachlan was bored and asked if Mina wanted him to collect some wood for a fire.
Mina thought this was a swell idea and shooed Lachlan and his patient little dog to her garden shed where she still had some wood from last season.
Lachlan brought back enough wood to feed the fire for at least a few hours and they sat in mediocre conversation and delectable warmth for the remainder of the day.
Lachlan made coffee with Mina’s blackened percolator and they spoke about motorcycles and coffee.
Mina was indifferent to the coffee it could be anything as long as it was black and Lachlan loathed the motorcycle idea because he was worried it could kill her.
Lachlan was originally from South Africa and in his teenage years all his friends bought motorcycles and several of them had died quite quickly after purchasing them.
Mina assured him that she would be safe and receive proper training.
Lachlan knew it would probably be alright and he had no control over his friends’ life motorcycle or not, but still was undeterred and told her she mustn’t!
Mina started to become distraught and told Lachlan she needed this.
Lachlan didn’t register the sadness and told her she didn’t and life is better lived.
Mina felt more strongly about her decision and with courage told Lachlan that she never felt like she was living properly anyway.
Lachlan was confused at this and offered Mina more coffee.
Mina told him to leave and that next time he sees her, she will be wearing a helmet and smiling underneath.
Three weeks later Mina’s neighbourhood woke earlier than usual as she started her second-hand Yamaha and rode it down to her boring, beautiful green field to catch life continuing itself once again.